The following Lenten reflections come from a chapter entitled “Garbage Day” from an unpublished devotional book of mine exploring the deeper realities of faith through the daily routines of life (read more about my “Sacred Analogies”). This chapter explores the reality of the spiritual garbage (i.e., sin) in […]
LENTEN REFLECTION SERIES The ancient Christian season of Lent is a 40-day journey leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Traditionally, Christians have observed this 40-day season through intentional self-examination and repentance, demonstrated by self-denial and fasting. I would like to spend this Lent by a series […]
Now for a second key point to Jesus’s “cosmic landfill” image of Hell. We should not speak of eternal damnation as something God imposes on us against our will, as if we had no choice in the matter. Jesus has taken our trash upon himself, his offer of […]
What then does Jesus’ graphic allusion to Jerusalem’s garbage dump tell us about the nature of hell? First, as we have already discovered, each person has been created for the common purpose of bringing glory and praise to the Creator. We were made to be showcases of God’s […]
Earlier I mentioned the unpopularity of the topic of repentance both inside and outside the church today. An even more hair-raising, gut-wrenching topic, offering a greater challenge to our culture’s sensibilities is the idea that an all-loving, all-merciful God would send people to some hell for all eternity. Shall we pour a cup of coffee and talk about Hell for a moment?
Are we willing to let go of certain things we love in order to gain something of even greater value? This is the whole concept behind a rummage sale, is it not? Clear out the old, unused clutter to make room for newer, better things? The Apostle Paul was faced with the same question, and made his decision abundantly clear…
If we take a quick glance at the lifestyles of Christians in America today, they are hardly distinguishable from those who don’t know God. We are a church of Marthas, fussing about in our own respective kitchens. But Jesus invites us to clear away the clutter and find time and space to sit at his feet along with Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Herein lies the key difference between spiritual garbage and spiritual clutter….
While continuously ridding our lives of sin’s toxic presence is of central importance, there is another type of spiritual waste that needs to be kept at bay. I call it spiritual clutter. If spiritual garbage represents the sin polluting our lives, spiritual clutter represents the numerous distractions that constantly compete for our immediate attention, drawing our focus away from God’s kingdom purposes….
There was a day when God went dumpster diving. Some 2,000 years ago God so loved the world that he sent his only Son into the dumpster of sin and death, so that everyone who believes in him shall not go to waste but have the eternal kind of life (John 3:16). Jesus came and took out our garbage for us; for we had let it pile up so high that it was now too heavy for any man to carry. As Isaiah said, “We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated. Our best efforts are grease-stained rags” (Isa 64:6). But Jesus exchanged our trash for God’s treasure (1 Pet 1:3-5)….
The Bible says, “Come back to God Almighty and he’ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil” (Job 22:23 MSG). This requires a concrete plan to rid ourselves of sin patterns in our life, to make a clean break of it. Yet, many of us prefer to sweep our sins under the rug or hide them in the back closet. We fail to deal with it completely. When we fail to regularly clean up after ourselves, or handle it completely, the spiritual mess only grows worse, making it harder to clean the next time. Listen to Jesus’ words….
Garbage is simply that which goes to waste. It has no positive value, serves no meaningful purpose and is therefore good only to be discarded or burned up. When we let our trash overflow with useless waste, the mess only inhibits the freedom and joy the “abundant life” (John 10:10) wants to give us. Waste gets in the way, it smells up the house, and detracts us from the beautiful, rightly ordered life God has made us for….